The humanitarian chief of the United Nations has stated that an amount of $100 million will be granted to 12 of the most seriously underfunded regions of global crises this year. The countries chosen were Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Liberia, Uganda and Yemen.
This aid effort is organized by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). One of the Central Emergency Response Fund’s main functions is carrying on aid efforts in areas of “forgotten” or “neglected” disasters and conflicts. Since 2006 more than $900 million have been funneled toward “neglected” crises. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valorie Amos remarked that “Millions of people continue to need help around the world after the media spotlight fades.” Amos also said that she hopes that “governments and others will provide more funds to help those caught in these hidden emergencies.”
These “neglected” crises are caused by both natural disasters and violent conflict. Once major media coverage stops on a disaster it is too easy for people to forget what has happened. Perhaps the best example of the world’s forgetfulness comes from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the deadliest tsunami in history according to the U.S. Geological Survey. For quite some time the disaster was the most reported on news story worldwide but the media spotlight faded away and focused on other stories and happenings. Thankfully the disaster wasn’t completely forgotten and there are still people working today to rebuild much of the area.
The CERF’s mission to continue offering aid to neglected victims of forgotten crises is certainly an admirable ambition and one that will hopefully remind individuals and governments alike that help is still needed even after the cameras have been packed away.
– Kevin Sullivan